The Foundation takes its name
from Tsadra Rinchen Drak,
Jamgön Kongtrul’s hermitage
and principal seat in Eastern Tibet. Perched on a cliff face high above Palpung Monastery in the Dergé region of Kham, Tsadra is considered to be equivalent to Tsari, one of the twenty-four sacred places in India.
It was there, at his home, that Kongtrul
established a traditional three-year retreat
center that would be the seat of the Shangpa Kagyu tradition and in which the practice traditions of Shangpa,
Kalachakra, and Dzogchen were transmitted. Many volumes of
Kongtrul’s Five Treasuries, which comprise the theory and practice
of all the main lineages of Tibetan Buddhism, were composed at Tsadra.
Jamgön Kongtrul was a remarkable figure in nineteenth-century Tibet. Widely respected for his accomplishments in contemplation and scholarship, he spent much of his life in retreat while composing authoritative treatises. His life and activity embody perfectly the values of Tsadra Foundation, and as such are our primary source of inspiration.
Fully integrating the two facets of Buddhist teachings, Kongtrul worked continuously for the benefit of others through religious, social, and diplomatic efforts. A tireless advocate of the non-sectarian movement, he counteracted the religious fragmentation of his time by espousing respect for all authentic traditions. With this same belief at its core, Tsadra Foundation as an institution is not attached to a single tradition, nor does it adhere to or represent any single teacher’s activity.
The directors of Tsadra Foundation acknowledge an infinite debt of gratitude to another great Tibetan master considered to be Kongtrul’s activity incarnation, Khyabje Kalu Rinpoche. With his profound wisdom, endless patience, and irrepressible humor, Kalu Rinpoche opened our hearts and minds. Most significantly, he founded the first three-year retreat center in the West, trusting students with the full and uncompromised transmission of the Buddhist teachings.
Although administratively independent, Tsadra Rinchen Drak is part of the Tai Situpa’s Palpung monastic domain. The directors of Tsadra Foundation are grateful to the current Tai Situpa for creating our beautiful calligraphic logo through coupling Tsadra with the aphorism rang rig ye shes kun gyi gzhi—
Tsadra: the Foundation of everything
is the primordial wisdom of natural awareness.